It's been a wonderful Christmas, and the day is still around the corner!
Ashley and Travis arrived late on Friday from Savannah, detained by considerable traffic between Atlanta and Chattanooga. But oh, they’re young! At 11:30 PM they sat down to begin playing cards, and I took my tired body off to bed. The day had been one of nonstop activity—grocery shopping, food preparation, errands, wrapping stocking presents, cleaning the house, making up the beds and doing laundry, and so on. Poor Ken managed to smash his thumb early in the day while he and Junior worked on a project, so his task list went immediately out the window, with a few items delegated to Junior and me. It was a little crazed!
Saturday was our virtual Christmas, with a leisurely breakfast (this because it was being made from scratch, and there’s only so much you can do to hurry things along under such circumstances!). After breakfast we rearranged some furniture in front of the fireplace and opened stockings. Travis was a riot. Except for food items most all the other stuffers were wrapped, and he tried to determine what was in each package before opening it (see photo). His first attempt: a lighthouse calendar, which he nailed right down to the theme of the calendar! Other amazing, accurate guesses included a combination lock (and yes, the color was blue), post-it “flags,” and some silicon gel used in diving. How he did this I do not know. I think the only thing that really stumped him were some pop-up sponges, but even those he determined were not “in their full form.” The dogs had stockings, too, and were quite attentive in their posture awaiting their treats!
After stockings we broke for a little noshing and grazed our way into the afternoon, when we shifted gears to presents. One humorous moment in the day occurred when Junior opened a gift that was labeled for him but turned out to be mislabeled, and was intended for Ken! (It was an easy mistake, the two boxes were the same relative size and weight, and had been wrapped in the same paper!). Ken’s gift (a tool belt), was from my dad, so to balance things out I also opened a gift from Dad: portions of the Willow Tree Nativity set to complete what Mom had given me a couple of years ago. See photo! From Ashley and Travis I received a Willow Tree figure (a girl holding a sheep—have you noticed that I have a thing for sheep?), and an Italian charm bracelet. Great choice! Now I can be on the lookout for charms to add to it.
When it got dark we headed to the Opryland Hotel to see their holiday decorations, lights and displays, and stayed there for dinner (picture below). Ashley and Travis shoved off to Travis’ parents’ house in Clarksville just as I was heading to bed, and Ken and Junior stayed up a bit for some further conversation.
Today has been more like an ordinary Sunday, with the exception that we’ve got a late service at church for Christmas Eve. This morning we actually had a crowd of 65 (40 is a high number), but there are lots of folks who are out of town, and those with kids won’t venture out late, so I’m not sure what sort of showing we’ll have. Parishioners worked very hard to set up the parish hall for worship, and did a fabulous job converting that space into a place that feels sacred. In fact, it inspired this morning’s sermon, and I was able to echo the gospel text of Mary’s Magnificat and say to them that their souls magnified the Lord.” It was a very meaningful worship for many, and tears were flowing!
Okay, this could become a book, so I will cease for now and resume later with further reports and any tales to share (there is at least one!). Good tidings to all, and Merriest Christmas from all of us here.